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American League East 2020 Preview

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It’s not all Red Sox and Yankees!

New York Yankees v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

It was the best of teams, it was the worst of teams. The Yankees were a behemoth last year, while the Orioles were the absolute worst team in baseball, but there may be some interesting clubs in between. The Red Sox aren’t quite what they used to be, while the Rays may be serious contenders and the Blue Jays have a team on the rise. Here is a preview of the American League East.

Baltimore Orioles

2019 record: 54-108

2019 pythag: 60-102

2020 ZIPS projection: 21-39

Notable additions: Jose Iglesias, Wade LeBlanc, Tommy Milone, Pat Valaika

Notable losses: Dylan Bundy, Trey Mancini (cancer), Mark Trumbo, Jonathan Villar

The Orioles were god-awful last year, and they’ll be without their best hitter this year as Trey Mancini tries to recover from colon cancer. The Orioles should be the worst team in baseball again this year by a pretty good margin. Presumably there is a light at the end of the tunnel but it is still too far away to see right now.

Orioles projected starting lineup

Pos. Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
Pos. Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
CF Austin Hays .309 .373 .574 75 4 0.7
SS Jose Iglesias .288 .318 .407 530 11 1.4
LF Anthony Santander .261 .297 .476 405 20 1.4
DH Renato Nunez .244 .311 .460 599 31 0.4
1B Chris Davis .179 .276 .326 352 12 -1.2
2B Hanser Alberto .305 .329 .422 550 12 2.9
3B Rio Ruiz .232 .306 .376 413 12 -0.2
C Pedro Severino .249 .310 .420 341 13 1.0
RF DJ Stewart .238 .317 .381 142 4 -0.4
Bench Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
C Chance Sisco .210 .333 .395 198 8 0.0
IF Pat Valaika .190 .256 .316 86 1 -0.6
IF Steve Wilkerson .225 .286 .383 361 10 -0.8
OF Dwight Smith, Jr. .241 .297 .412 392 13 -0.8
OF Cedric Mullins .094 .181 .156 74 0 -0.7

Orioles projected pitching staff

Pit Pitcher ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
Pit Pitcher ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
LHP John Means 3.60 4.41 155.0 7.0 2.2 5.0
RHP Alex Cobb 10.95 11.89 12.1 5.8 1.5 -0.4
RHP Wade LeBlanc 5.71 5.49 121.1 6.8 2.3 0.3
RHP Asher Wojciechowski 4.92 5.30 82.1 8.7 3.1 1.5
LHP Tommy Milone 4.76 5.00 111.2 7.6 1.9 1.5
Pit Bullpen ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
RHP Mychal Givens 4.57 4.5 63.0 12.3 3.7 0.7
LHP Richard Bleier 5.37 4.19 55.1 4.9 1.3 0.4
RHP Hunter Harvey 1.42 3.69 6.1 15.6 5.7 0.3
RHP Miguel Castro 4.66 4.73 73.1 8.7 5.0 0.7
RHP Shawn Armstrong 5.74 4.54 58.0 9.8 4.5 0.1
LHP Paul Fry 5.34 4.71 57.1 8.6 4.6 -0.1

Boston Red Sox

2019 record: 84-78

2019 pythag: 87-75

2020 ZIPS projection: 31-29

Notable additions: Austin Brice, Yairo Munoz, Jose Peraza, Martin Perez, Kevin Pillar, Kevin Plawecki, Alex Verdugo

Notable losses: Mookie Betts, Andrew Cashner, Brock Holt, Sandy Leon, Steve Pearce, Rick Porcello, David Price

The Red Sox may not win a division title this year, but they can at least raise a “we got under the luxury tax threshold in 2020” banner. The team dealt Mookie Betts to the Dodgers in order to move his salary and half of the remaining amount of David Price’s $96 million contract (which has been further reduced with the shortened season). They still have some very talented hitters who could be in MVP consideration like Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts, but the pitching staff looks like a mess with Chris Sale out for the year after Tommy John surgery, Eduardo Rodriguez out after a COVID-19 positive test, and free agent Collin McHugh deciding to opt out after his arm didn’t respond this summer.

Red Sox projected starting lineup

Pos. Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
Pos. Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
LF Andrew Benintendi .266 .343 .431 615 13 1.8
3B Rafael Devers .311 .361 .555 702 32 4.9
SS Xander Bogaerts .309 .384 .555 698 33 5.9
DH J.D. Martinez .304 .383 .557 657 36 3.4
1B Mitch Moreland .252 .328 .507 335 19 1.2
C Christian Vazquez .276 .320 .477 521 23 2.3
RF Alex Verdugo .294 .342 .475 377 12 3.2
2B Jose Peraza .239 .285 .346 403 6 -0.9
CF Jackie Bradley, Jr. .225 .317 .421 567 21 1.9
Bench Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
C Kevin Plawecki .222 .287 .342 174 3 -0.1
IF Michael Chavis .254 .322 .444 382 18 0.6
IF Tzu-Wei Lin .200 .273 .300 22 0 0.0
IF Yairo Munoz .267 .298 .355 181 2 -0.6
OF Kevin Pillar .259 .287 .432 645 21 0.9

Red Sox projected pitching staff

Pit Pitcher ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
Pit Pitcher ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
RHP Nathan Eovaldi 5.99 5.90 67.2 9.3 4.7 0.0
LHP Eduardo Rodriguez 3.81 3.86 203.1 9.4 3.3 5.9
LHP Martin Perez 5.12 4.66 165.1 7.3 3.6 0.2
RHP Ryan Weber 5.09 4.20 40.2 6.4 1.8 0.2
LHP Brian Johnson 6.02 5.32 40.1 6.9 5.1 -0.2
Pit Bullpen ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
RHP Brandon Workman 1.88 2.46 71.2 13.1 5.7 3.2
RHP Matt Barnes 3.78 3.28 64.1 15.4 5.3 1.3
RHP Heath Hembree 3.86 4.78 39.2 10.4 4.1 0.5
RHP Ryan Brasier 4.85 4.42 55.2 9.9 3.4 0.2
LHP Josh Taylor 3.04 3.11 47.1 11.8 3.0 -0.2
RHP Austin Brice 3.43 4.87 44.2 9.3 3.6 0.4

New York Yankees

2019 record: 103-59

2019 pythag: 99-63

2020 ZIPS projection: 34-26

Notable additions: Gerrit Cole

Notable losses: Dellin Betances, Greg Bird, Jacoby Ellsbury, Edwin Encarnacion, Didi Gregorius, Austin Romine, CC Sabathia

The Yankees won 103 games last year, added the best free agent starting pitcher in Gerrit Cole, and get their top two sluggers back with the return of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. The Bronx Bombers lived up to their nickname last year by leading the league with 943 runs, and they could be even better this year if they are healthy. Aroldis Chapman leads a deep bullpen although he is currently out with a positive COVID-19 test.

Yankees projected starting lineup

Pos. Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
Pos. Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
2B DJ LeMahieu .327 .375 .518 655 26 5.9
RF Aaron Judge .272 .381 .540 447 27 5.5
SS Gleyber Torres .278 .337 .535 604 38 3.1
DH Giancarlo Stanton .288 .403 .492 72 3 0.4
CF Aaron Hicks .235 .325 .443 255 12 1.3
C Gary Sanchez .232 .316 .525 446 34 3.1
1B Luke Voit .263 .378 .464 510 21 1.4
LF Brett Gardner .251 .325 .503 550 28 4.1
3B Gio Urshela .314 .355 .534 476 21 3.9
Bench Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
C Kyle Higashioka .214 .211 .464 57 3 0
IF Miguel Andujar .128 .143 .128 49 0 -1.2
IF Tyler Wade .245 .330 .362 108 2 0.3
OF Clint Frazier .267 .317 .489 246 12 0.1
OF Mike Tauchman .277 .361 .504 296 13 3.8

Yankees projected pitching staff

Pit Pitcher ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
Pit Pitcher ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
RHP Gerrit Cole 2.50 2.64 212.1 13.8 2.0 4.6
LHP James Paxton 3.82 3.86 150.2 11.1 3.3 2.3
RHP Masahiro Tanaka 4.45 4.27 182.0 7.4 2.0 1.9
LHP J.A. Happ 4.91 5.22 161.1 7.8 2.7 0.0
LHP Jordan Montgomery 6.75 3.96 4.0 11.3 0.0 -0.1
Pit Bullpen ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
LHP Aroldis Chapman 2.21 2.28 57.0 13.4 3.9 1.6
LHP Zack Britton 1.91 3.74 61.1 7.8 4.7 2.5
RHP Adam Ottavino 1.90 3.44 66.1 11.9 5.4 2.3
RHP Tommy Kahnle 3.67 3.33 61.1 12.9 2.9 0.8
RHP Chad Green 4.17 3.34 69.0 12.8 2.5 0.4
RHP Jonathan Holder 6.31 4.45 41.1 10.0 2.4 -0.9

Tampa Bay Rays

2019 record: 96-66

2019 pythag: 93-69

2020 ZIPS projection: 33-27

Notable additions: Manuel Margot, Jose Martinez, Hunter Renfroe, Yoshi Tsutsugo

Notable losses: Jesus Aguilar, Travis d’Arnaud, Avisail Garcia, Guillermo Heredia, Emilio Pagan, Tommy Pham, Austin Pruitt, Eric Sogard

The Rays had a very interesting off-season where they revamped their outfield and added Japanese first baseman/third baseman/left fielder Yoshi Tsutsugo, who hit .272/.388/.511 with 29 home runs for Yokohama last year. Expect the Rays to be creative with their pitching staff, which will be anchored by Blake Snell and Charlie Morton, and could add top prospect Brendan McKay during the year.

Rays projected starting lineup

Pos. Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
Pos. Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
DH Yoshi Tsutsugo Played in Japan
LF Austin Meadows .291 .364 .558 591 33 4.0
3B Yandy Diaz .267 .340 .476 347 14 1.5
1B Ji-Man Choi .261 .363 .459 487 19 2.0
RF Hunter Renfroe .216 .289 .489 440 33 2.7
2B Brandon Lowe .270 .336 .514 327 17 2.6
SS Willy Adames .254 .317 .418 584 20 4.2
CF Kevin Kiermaier .228 .278 .398 480 14 2.4
CF Mike Zunino .165 .232 .312 289 9 -0.2
Bench Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
C Michael Perez .217 .345 .326 55 0 0.3
IF Daniel Robertson .213 .312 .295 237 2 -0.3
IF Joey Wendle .231 .293 .340 263 3 0.8
OF Manuel Margot .234 .304 .387 441 12 1.8
OF Jose Martinez .269 .340 .410 373 10 -0.4

Rays projected pitching staff

Pit Pitcher ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
Pit Pitcher ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
RHP Charlie Morton 3.05 2.81 194.2 11.1 2.6 4.9
LHP Blake Snell 4.29 3.32 107.0 12.4 3.4 1.4
LHP Ryan Yarbrough 4.13 3.55 141.2 7.4 1.3 1.3
RHP Tyler Glasnow 1.78 2.26 60.2 11.3 2.1 2.5
RHP Trevor Richards 4.06 4.51 135.1 8.4 3.7 1.8
Pit Bullpen ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
RHP Nick Anderson 3.32 2.35 65.0 15.2 2.5 1.4
RHP Diego Castillo 3.41 3.72 68.2 10.6 3.4 0.5
LHP Jose Alvarado 4.80 4.18 30.0 11.7 8.1 -0.3
RHP Chaz Roe 4.06 3.31 51.0 11.5 5.5 0.0
RHP Yonny Chirinos 3.85 4.44 133.1 7.7 1.9 2.1
RHP Oliver Drake 3.21 3.87 56.0 11.3 3.1 1.2

Toronto Blue Jays

2019 record: 67-95

2019 pythag: 71-91

2020 ZIPS projection: 27-33

Notable additions: Chase Anderson, Anthony Bass, Joe Panik, Tanner Roark, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Travis Shaw

Notable losses: Clay Buchholz, Derek Law, Luke Maile, Justin Smoak

The Blue Jays have one of the best collection of young hitters in the league, led by Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. They sought to upgrade their pitching staff by adding free agent Hyun-Jin Ryu Tanner Roark, and trading for Chase Anderson, as well as bringing relievers Shun Yamaguchi and Rafael Dolis from Japan. The biggest question is - where will this team play?

Blue Jays projected starting lineup

Pos. Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
Pos. Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
SS Bo Bichette .311 .358 .571 212 11 2.3
2B Cavan Biggio .234 .364 .429 430 16 2.9
LF Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. .277 .327 .541 343 20 1.7
1B Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. .272 .339 .433 514 15 1.5
3B Travis Shaw .157 .281 .270 270 7 -1.2
CF Randal Grichuk ..232 .280 .457 628 31 0.4
RF Teoscar Hernandez .230 .306 .472 464 26 1.2
DH Rowdy Tellez .227 .293 .449 409 21 0.0
C Danny Jansen .207 .279 .360 384 13 1.1
Bench Hitter BA OBA SLG PA HR rWAR
C Reese McGuire .299 .346 .526 105 5 1.0
2B Joe Panik .244 .315 .336 491 5 -0.6
IF Brandon Drury .218 .262 .380 447 15 -1.2
OF Anthony Alford .179 .233 .286 30 1 -0.2
OF Derek Fisher .185 .287 .370 167 7 -0.1

Blue Jays projected pitching staff

Pit Pitcher ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
Pit Pitcher ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu 2.32 3.10 182.2 8.0 1.2 4.8
RHP Tanner Roark 4.35 4.67 165.1 8.6 2.8 2.0
RHP Matt Shoemaker 1.57 3.95 28.2 7.5 2.8 1.2
RHP Trent Thornton 4.84 4.59 154.1 8.7 3.6 1.7
RHP Chase Anderson 4.21 4.83 139.0 8.0 3.2 1.8
Pit Bullpen ERA FIP IP K/9 BB/9 WAR
RHP Ken Giles 1.87 2.27 53.0 14.1 2.9 2.5
RHP Anthony Bass 3.56 3.90 48.0 8.1 3.2 1.0
RHP Shun Yamaguchi Played in Japan
RHP Jordan Romero 7.63 6.41 15.1 12.3 5.3 -0.4
RHP Thomas Pannone 6.16 5.16 73.0 8.5 3.8 -0.3
RHP Sam Gaviglio 4.61 4.64 95.2 8.3 2.1 0.7

Poll

Who will win the American League East?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    Baltimore Orioles
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Boston Red Sox
    (0 votes)
  • 52%
    New York Yankees
    (12 votes)
  • 34%
    Tampa Bay Rays
    (8 votes)
  • 4%
    Toronto Blue Jays
    (1 vote)
23 votes total Vote Now